Each year, sustainability change agents are recognized as Champions of Change for their work to create a more adaptable and resilient campus community. This year, the fourth annual Campus Sustainability Awards celebration took place on March 22 during the Office of Sustainability’s week-long celebration of the Earth.
Wake Forest University Provost Rogan Kersh and Executive Vice President Hof Milam recognized students, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated or initiated successful sustainable practices on campus in the following five categories: Teaching, Research and Engagement; Resource Conservation; Service and Social Action; Bright Ideas; and Leadership.
For the Teaching, Research, and Engagement award category, two individuals were awarded for their work to develop educational and research opportunities that showcase the campus as a living classroom and laboratory. Amanda Lanier was recognized for her focus on sustainability and conservation as the education curator at Reynolda Gardens. Each year, Amanda and her team of volunteers guide over 2,000 school children through the gardens, following a curriculum-based program that focuses on the ecology of the Piedmont. The second award went to Preston Stockton for her leadership on the Reynolda Meadow Project—a 16-acre demonstration site for wildlife protection, watershed protection, and carbon sequestration. The Meadow Project continues to engage the broader community in the important multidimensional research and education underway at Reynolda.
For the Resource Conservation award category, both Facilities & Campus Services and Residence Life & Housing were awarded for their joint work to renovate and renew the Quad residence halls. Over the past two summers, Kitchin, Poteat, and Huffman have all been renovated, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 40 percent reduction in water use. With this savings also comes improved indoor air quality and greatly enhanced livability.
Dr. Angela King was honored with the Service and Social Action award for her work to make Enno Farms a model of sustainable practices. Last year alone, over 300 dozen eggs from the farm were sold to Wake Forest faculty, staff, and students. Most recently, Enno Farms partnered with North Carolina Soil and Water to permanently fence livestock from natural water sources—ultimately preventing erosion and ensuring that the local Dan River water basin remains clean.
This year, the Office of Sustainability recognized three Bright Ideas. Lesli Tuttle, of Student Financial Services, was awarded for her marketing strategy to encourage students to obtain their 1098T tax forms electronically. Her innovative campaign saved over 3,400 paper tax forms from being printed and mailed. Steve Fisenne was awarded for his work to successfully develop a chemical inventory system to track hazardous chemicals on campus and to limit duplicate ordering of chemicals among and between departments. During the latest EPA inspection, the university passed an audit by both regional and federal authorities with zero violations—an unprecedented outcome. The final award in the Bright Ideas category went to the Wake Forest Customer and Custodial Services team for their work to make our buildings, air, and environment healthier. To ameliorate the negative environmental and human health effects of wet floor strippers, this team researched and implemented a dry removal method for the annual floor stripping in the residence halls.
Sebastian Irby was awarded this year’s Leadership award for her unprecedented drive in developing the first interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in Sustainability Studies. From mapping a course of study that matches the rigor of established degree programs at peer institutions, to securing commitments from faculty to offer the courses that will fulfill the program requirements at Wake Forest, Sebastian has blazed a trail. Additionally, Sebastian has served as a resource to at least 10 peers who are pursuing their own interdisciplinary paths in sustainability-related areas.
A special award was presented to Sarah Fahmy, a member of the Student-Athlete Sustainability Network, who lead the collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and Athletics to get the student-athlete sustainability network off the ground. A member of the Wake Forest Women’s Track & Field team, as well as the Women’s Cross Country team, Sarah has played in integral role in recruiting and inspiring this group of campus sustainability leaders.